Many “Deadliest Catch” fans have posted on Deadliest Reports they they’re interested in becoming commercial fishermen or crabbers and the response here, has always been…”It’s a tough job to get these days”. A few of the official “Deadliest Catch” fishing vessel websites have even mentioned so and advised those who are really interested, that perhaps getting work on the processors first may be the way to go. Well Brad Whipple, an experienced commercial fisherman, has written an interesting article about finding such work. So if you’re one of those who’s contemplated heading up to Alaska to do a little “working on the edge”, you may want to read the following…
How to Get Work On An Alaskan Fishing Boat
So you want a little adventure? Test the limits of your energy ? Make some money? Bask in some of the most amazing natural beauty anywhere? Good. Can you live in cramped space for a few weeks? Maybe go without a shower for a few days? Work for 48 straight hours? Ignore freezing temperatures? Good. All you have to do is get a job on a commercial fishing boat in Alaska.
Fifteen or twenty years ago, thousands upon thousands of college-age kids migrated to Bristol Bay and Cook Inlet in the late spring, pitched tents in parking lots, and beat the docks until they secured a site on a drift boat or seiner. In those days the salmon runs were incredibly strong, the ex-vessel price was over $3.00/lb., and work abounded. If you couldn’t find a site, then the tender vessel or the cannery certainly had a position for you – a less lucrative one to be sure, but good work nonetheless. Crab fishing in the wintertime offered similar opportunity. A young man could get on a plane in Anchorage and have a job before he landed in Dutch Harbor. Boats made so much money they could hire an extra guy on a half-share basis just to make life a little easier for everyone. It was relatively easy for an able-bodied guy to get a site, even if he didn’t have any fishing experience. Things are quite different today. Regulations, oil spills, an economic emphasis on imports, the crash of the Japanese economy in the mid-90s – all of these factors have drastically changed the fabric of the industry over the last two decades. But the romantic allure persists and the risk/reward factor is still intense. The job can still be quite lucrative for the right person, and the best way for you to land your site is still to simply SHOW UP!
Skippers don’t troll for employees on Monster. There are websites dedicated to finding “fishing” jobs in Alaska, like Alaskafishingjobs.com, alaskajobfinder.com, and others. Some of these charge a membership fee though, and most of the positions are on factory processors owned by giant seafood corporations like Trident or Peter Pan. This might be a good place to start, but in truth, the chances of getting hired on a proper fishing boat, sight unseen, especially if you’re “green”, are about zero. There is no application process, we’re going straight to the interviews. So if you’re starting a career or just taking a sabbatical from the cubicle, here’s how to go about it:
Please keep reading this great article after the jump